Original Study| Volume 18, ISSUE 7, P588-591, July 01, 2017

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Low-Impact Flooring: Does It Reduce Fall-Related Injuries?

  • H. Carl Hanger
    Address correspondence to H. Carl Hanger, MBChB, FRACP, Older Persons Health Specialist Service, Burwood Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, Private Bag 4708, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.
    Older Persons Health Specialist Service, Canterbury District Health Board; and Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand
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      To compare fall rates and injuries from falls on low-impact flooring (LIF) compared with a standard vinyl flooring.


      Prospective, observational, nonrandomized controlled study.


      Subacute Older Persons Health ward (N = 20 beds).


      Older inpatients.


      Three different types of LIF.


      All falls in the ward were prospectively monitored using incident reporting, noting location and consequences of each fall. Fall rates (per 1000 bed days) and injuries, were compared between bedroom falls on LIF against those occurring on standard vinyl flooring (controls).


      Over 31 months, there were 278 bedroom falls (from 178 fallers). The bedroom fall rate (falls per 1000 bed days occupied) did not differ between the LIF and control groups (median 15 [IQR 8–18] versus 17 [IQR 9–23], respectively; P = .47). However, fall-related injuries were significantly less frequent when they occurred on LIFs (22% of falls versus 34% of falls on control flooring; P = .02). Fractures occurred in 0.7% of falls in the LIF cohort versus 2.3% in the control cohort. Rolling resistance when moving heavier equipment, such as beds or hoists, was an issue for staff on LIF.


      LIF significantly reduced fall-related injuries compared with a standard vinyl flooring, whereas they did not alter the overall risk of falling.


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